Edgar held forth at length upon Art, passionlessly expository. “Art,” said he, “and do not imagine that Art or anything else is other than High Magic! — is a system of holy hieroglyph. The artist, the initiate, thus frames his mysteries. The rest of the world scoff, or seek to understand, or pretend to understand; some few obtain the truth. The technical ability of the artist is the lucidity of his language; it has nothing to do with the degree of his illumination. Bougereau is better technically than Manet; he explains more clearly what he sees. But what does he see? He is the priest of a false God. Form has no importance except in this sense; we must not be revolted by the extravagance of new symbolic systems. Gauguin and Matisse may live to be understood. We acquiesce in the eccentricities of Raphael.”
A sacred secret. We shall not die. The reflections shall leave And it will happen fast. We shall all be changed, and by that he means reversed back, suddenly. In the twinkling of an eye! Because, he thought glumly as he watched the police psychologists writing their conclusions and signing them, we are fucking backward right now, I guess, every one of us; everyone and every damn thing, and distance, and even time. But how long, he thought, when a print is being made, a contact print, when the photographer discovers he’s got the negative reversed, how long does it take to flip it? To reverse it again so it’s like it’s supposed to be? A fraction of a second. I understand, he thought, what that passage in the Bible means, Through a glass darkly.
This constitutes a profound Riddle of Holiness. Note η Σφίγξ = Υραίος = 781 = 71 x 11. See authorities for special meanings of these words.*
Those only understand it who combine in themselves the extremes of Moral Idea, identifying them through transcendental overcoming of the antinomy. They must have gone further yet, beyond the fundamental opposition of the sexes. The male must have completed himself and become androgyne; the female become gynander.
This incompleteness imprisons the soul. To think “I am not woman, but man” or vice versa, is to limit one’s self, to set a bar to one’s motion. It is the root of the ‘shutting-up’ which culminates in becoming “Mary inviolate” or a “Black Brother”.
* “η Σφίγξ is ‘the Sphinx,’ or ‘the strangler.’ Υραίος is not a Greek word but adds to 781, and appears to be a transliteration of ‘uræus.'”—Hymenaeus Beta, Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers (N.B. Though ‘uræus’ indeed seems more relevant, I note that υραῖος appears at least in Skeat’s as a Greek word meaning “aged, gray” listed as a root for the word “gray”—Librarian)
One thing I will say: that I do not expect anything to come of qabalistic speculations. I think that they may even be extremely mischievous in times like the present. Our sole business should be to use the Law to reconstruct the world from the chaos into which it is already half tumbled. That formula is a simple one, and requires no specialised training. The work requires the cooperation of tens of thousands of people who have never heard of the Qabalah, and they have to be addressed in language which they can understand.
the true Principle of Self-Control is Liberty. For we are born into a World which is in Bondage to Ideals; to them we are perforce fitted, even as the Enemies to the Bed of Procrustes. Each of us, as he grows, learns Repression of himself and his true Will. … these Passions in ourselves which we understand to be Hindrances are not part of our True Will, but diseased Appetites, manifest in us through false early Training.
Men like him cannot be happy as we understand happiness, for to be happy one must delight like nature in mere profusion, in mere abundance, in making and doing things, and if one sets an image of the perfect before one it must be the image that draws her perpetually, the image of a perfect fulness of natural life, of an Earthly Paradise.
The “secrets” (or arcane truths) imparted in this Degree are explained as consisting of certain peculiar marks or signs, intended to distinguish all Brethren of the elementary grade of Apprentice. Outwardly, in this and in subsequent Degrees also, they are expressed by step, sign, and word. These, of course, are not the full or real secrets, but only figurative emblems of them. It is what they signify that constitutes the secrets, and that significance is left for the Candidate to meditate upon and reduce into daily personal practice. Only so will he really learn them and come to understand why they are called “secrets” and why we insist upon their use. They can never be orally communicated, except in symbolic form, but must be learned by experimental practice.
W L Wilmshurst, The Ceremony of Initiation, Part II
Listen, you! We expect nothing from you…we have burnt our hope as far as you are concerned…we want to speak to the ones who are prepared to stop eating their food. Misery is your food… scum-filth party politics is your food…when will you look down and see what is on the end of your fork – the naked lunch? We give up, you little people, your tenacity, your insistence on little wretched miseries amazes us. Stop reading this now. Because it is highly unlikely that you are one of those able to understand us.
We are still faced with the challenge of understanding the complex ways race, class, gender, sexuality, nation, and ability are intertwined—but also how we move beyond these categories to understand the interrelationships of ideas and processes that seem to be separate and unrelated.
Angela Y Davis, ed. Frank Barat, preface by Cornel West, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]
I’ve come to understand: No matter who you are or what you do, if you’re drawn to the dreamy side of life and you long to create a better world, you have genius within you that demands to be brought forth. It is not too weird, too useless, or too fluffy to go about the labor of transmuting your suffering to ecstasy.